New York Magazine has an Etan Patz article, again with a photo I’ve never seen before. This month is the 30th anniversary of his disappearance. It’s quite long but it’s a good summary of the twists and turns of the case. It’s written by the author of After Etan. The library has the book on order, and I’ve placed a hold on it. I’ll review it on this blog when I read it.
Etan disappeared on the very first day his parents let him walk to the bus stop alone. Nowadays I think it would be inconceivable to let a six-year-old walk to the bus stop by himself in New York City, and I’m pretty sure it was Etan’s disappearance and others like it that caused parents to supervise their kids more. (I heard that later on some women on the street recognized his mom from the news and said, “You must feel so bad about it, especially considering how it was all your fault.” Growl.) But even if his parents hadn’t let him walk to the bus stop by himself, he would have disappeared anyway. I’m not saying his abduction was completely unpreventable — that’s nonsense — but Jose Antonio Ramos was stalking him and was just waiting for an opportunity.
Incidentally, I do think it’s kind of odd that Etan became basically the model for America’s missing child. He was young and very cute, it’s true. But he was a boy, and he was conspicuously Jewish. I would have expected a little girl from a Christian “All-American” family would be more likely to get that kind of attention.